Angry Luton Road residents are at their wits end, claiming huge HGV lorries “ignore” the new Junction 11A motorway link, with heavy vehicles causing houses to shake “unbearably” and giving families “sleepless nights”.
For years, distressed residents have been complaining as noisy HGVs rattle the roads, travelling to and from various distribution centres including those located at Woodside Industrial Estate, Boscombe Road, and Downtown Haulage, Eastern Avenue. Some vehicles are even parking up on the road at night and leaving with the ‘dawn chorus’.
Yet despite the opening of the new Woodside Link road on April 13, allowing lorries an alternative route to the M1, furious families are complaining it has made little difference.
One fed up resident claimed: “You may be forgiven for thinking Operation Stack in Kent has relocated to Luton Road or that somewhere in the distance is a ferry terminal.
“No, in fact this is now the dawn chorus that awakes the residents in Luton Road as a consequence of the stacking of HGVs entering the industrial estate and neighbouring haulage firms.
“The size and capacity of the HGVs and the sheer numbers involved creates an unbearable place to live.
“The current policy by Central Bedfordshire Council and the Highways Agency is to introduce an area wide lorry ban, including in villages, stating it ‘will improve air quality’.
“But just what is being done for the hundreds of residents in Luton Road? Our health should not be taken lightly!”
Residents claim that the noise and shaking of houses can start as early as 3am, arguing that they have to tolerate all four lanes of the dual carriageway being used by HGVs, and exposed to weights of “in excess of 240 tonnes!”.
They are now calling for restrictions to be imposed on Luton Road, claiming that no restriction of the tonnage of vehicles entering Luton Road is being considered, despite Central Bedfordshire Council planning an area wide weight limit (imposing 7.5 tonne restrictions) in Houghton Regis, Dunstable, Toddington, Chalton and many other local roads.
The resident argued: “A new shopping area has been created on the east side of town and few shops remain in the town itself, so traffic congestion has been moved east.
“The opening of Junction 11A we thought would be a blessing, but the situation has worsened!”
Residents are upset that lorries still have the two ways to access the M1, using either the Woodside Link road to Junction 11A or the A505 Luton Road to Junction 11, with lorries travelling to and from the south highly likely to travel down the A505, as using the northern Woodside Link road would only increase their journey time.
But the resident argued: “The flow is relentless. How can businesses justify this when a road has been provided where stacking can occur depriving no one of sleep or harming health in the way this situation is?”
A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman said: “HGV lorries can still exit at Junction 11 of the M1 motorway and use Luton Road in Dunstable, as it will not be included in the new weight limit restrictions. However lorries won’t be able to use Poynters Road to access the industrial estates, as that road is in the restricted zone. Therefore, it is easier and faster for lorries to use the new Junction 11A instead and take the new Woodside Link road.
“The process of implementing the weight restrictions in Dunstable (including the High Street) involves changing a lot of signage on the local roads and the M1. We have also started an education programme amongst businesses to ensure lorry drivers understand the new weight limit restrictions.
“Once the weight limits are in place we will increase enforcement activity to ensure that HGV drivers do use the new routes. This will include additional technology and extra enforcement officers to help enforce the ban.
“We are working to get all these changes in place by the end of the summer. This should lead to significantly less HGVs on the smaller Dunstable roads and through the High Street.”
Some of the vehicles photographed by a reader at 4.45am on June 1, included a Superdrug lorry and DPD vehicle. DPD Press Office were contacted but did not respond.
Superdrug Press Office were also contacted. They were unable to comment before the newspaper went to press but are looking into the matter.